Gonna try something new here at the Emotional Affair Journey. Every Wednesday we’re going to toss a topic out for you and we’ll discuss it in the comments. Now that we have these nifty commenting systems that allow for replies and even cross-posting to Twitter and Facebook, this will be really cool. Plus, it will really give us a chance to better know each other and our hope is that we’ll all learn a lot from each other, too. We’ll learn just as much as you guys will, I’m sure!

This isn’t anything new; we’re certainly not the first persons to do this, but it’s the first time we’ve done it and I think it’s a great way to balance things out here and give you guys more of a voice. Instead of responding to something “educational” we wrote (cough, cough), we can have more of a dialog or a discussion about issues we all face.

Sound good? Right, here we go, then. The first topic is…

What are you most afraid of pertaining to your or your spouse’s affair? What scares you silly? Is it something you’re afraid to do? Or is it some catastrophic event you’re afraid will happen? Is it something you think is so ridiculous you’re afraid to even say what you’re afraid of?

If that’s the case, then I especially want to hear from you!

Let’s talk about this in the comments.

P.S. – Feel free to reply to each other in the comments. Each person leaving a comment is not an isolated incident.

    35 replies to "Something new! Open Discussion: Talk Amongst Yourselves"

    • michael

      Ok here it goes.
      My biggest fear is that I she may tell me, or worse find out on my own, that she had been physical, with someone other than me, in the time that we have been together. Thirteen years.

      I think that I worry most about this because I was so blind sided by this event. I thought that I knew her before this happened. And now I’m starting to find all these things that she hid from me. She isn’t ready to trust me yet. And I see that. All I can do is keep showing her that I’m not leaving and that she means more to me than what has happened in the past.

      • admin

        Thanks for starting off the discussion Michael. I know from experience that the cheating spouse tends to disclose facts in chunks rather than full disclosure. For your sake, I hope that she has come to the point where there are no more surprises. Do you feel the possibility of physical contact is more or less hurtful as the emotional affair with the OP? –Doug

    • Heartbroken

      My primary concern, based largely on comments from our marriage counselor, is that her character flaw (term used in counseling) will resurface again over time. Learning the details of her affair the first time had left me feeling raped or violated in a way I never thought possible. How will I survive if it happens again?

      I had been so focused on the past incident that I had not even looked forward to what might happen tomorrow. She was so cool, calm, and collected when I confronted her that, just like Michael above, I have thought how often has this happened over the last 16 years where I didn’t know? However, I realize the past is the past and I should not dwell there. Looking forward, I feel sad that we have lost that complete trust once shared. She tells me I don’t have anything to worry about, but I’ve heard that before when it wasn’t true.

      The result is some new kind of paranoia where my heart starts racing over simple things like the phone ringing or her typing on her iphone. The thought of her being gone too long to buy groceries or to go out at night with her friends is almost unbearable. My hope is over time that the trust will return, but right now, it is just not there.

    • Mary

      In my case – as odd and stupid as it sounds my biggest fear is that my husband will have/is having an affair and he will get the girl pregnant. I know that sounds so crazy – as if it would not matter that he had an affair but I’m not sure there is any fixing it if she were to get pregnant. I mean what do we do? Take visitation with that child? Have a regular reminder of what happened in our house? I’m not sure I could. So, that is what I fear most. Or at least that and that he might be having an affair at all – but it’s like I’m trying to figure out where we go from here IF he is.

      • admin

        Mary, Most certainly that would open a whole new can of worms. Lets hope that is not the case!

    • michael

      No, the physical part is a concern because it “puts me at risk” of catching something that neither of us came into our relationship with. This is a concern of mine because after our second child she had her tubes tied. At the time it felt as something to do for us. This is compounded by the fact that she didn’t see the need for protection when we first started dating. So if in the last nine years anything ever did happen, I don’t believe that she would have insisted on any. That would put me at risk. I can’t believe that my wife would have ever been with anyone like that. But then I’ve discovered a lot of things that my wife has hid from me for years. So that’s what scares me the most.

    • Mary


      Now you gave me a whole new worry. 🙂 Unfortunately, you are 100% correct. Of course, we are hoping that they (our spouses) have not done anything to actually put us at risk but still that is a concern.

      Doug & Linda,
      I certainly hope not!

    • James

      My biggest fear at this moment is that my wife will leave me and we can’t fix our marriage. I was the one who had the affair, ended it and now we are working on things. She says that she doesn’t know if she can’ get over the affair and trust me again.

    • Ashley

      My husband says that he has ended his affair, which I believe. Thinking that he might resume the affair, and potentially leave me and our children to be with her is what I’m most afraid of. I want to think that he still loves me and that he’s had his fling, but I’m worried.

    • Heartbroken

      Mary/Michael – I do pray for you guys that it has not become physical. In the case of my wife, it had, and our counselor immediately required her to get tested before he would continue seeing us. She did not use protection and swore that it was safe. I’m not sure how I would respond to an affair pregnancy. I can only imagine Mary what you must be going through.

      I do want to share that this forum has been very positive for me and hope through these conversations that we begin to see with clarity what to do.

      James – I grew up thinking that an affair was just a symptom of a larger problem. While I don’t really know if that is the case, perhaps it would be healthy for both of you to examine how you communicate and express your love for each other. I’m still in the phase where I don’t know if I can get over the affair and regain trust, but I work on it a day at a time hopeful that it will start to get better.

    • Heartbroken

      Okay. Now for the heart-wrenching truth…I laid in bed last night thinking about this open discussion and my greatest fear and I think I had an epiphany. I’ve never even shared this during counseling and I’m not even sure how to approach it…
      In the state of Oklahoma, divorce law favors the mother. During the early stages of knowing about her affair, she said if I was not going to trust her that I should just move out. I said if she continues the affair that her bags would be packed and waiting outside. She responded that she would keep our house and children and I could just pay to support them. Now, I know that we were both angry and both said things that I’m sure we didn’t mean, but it struck a horror in me that it could be true. The thought of losing everything I’ve worked for and our children too is overwhelming. The result has been that I’ve since been accommodating her every whim and feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore. Is my unhappiness worth a guarantee of being close to my children? Will I eventually get back to a happy place and trust her again? I accept that our marriage as I knew it is dead and gone. Will we be able to create a new life together that we all enjoy?

    • michael

      I feel your pain. But I too struggle with some of the same fear. I’m in california, similar to you, our state doesn’t always look at what’s best for the husband. I haven’t thought about it too much because I don’t think we ever got that far.
      When we did discuss it she told me about her fears of having nowhere to go and no person to help her. So I know she thought about it and it scarred her. I don’t think she ever pursued it because a lawyer would have promised her the world to get her (and my) money.
      I know she loves me more than that. Because she is the one who told me what she was doing. Maybe she knew I was going to find out when I got the phone bill. Maybe when he started to talk about being physical. And what he wanted to do with her. Maybe even demanding more from her. Whatever it was, she came to me and cried the whole time. She need me then and I was there. That’s something that Until right now I hadn’t thought about a lot. That’s a good memory to hold onto when I feel bad.

    • Mary

      Ya know I think that is all why I worry most about an affair that led to a pregnancy. Oh sure I’m the mom and I would get custody but he would still get visitation – possibly even joint custody and then I would miss all this time with them because he had an affair? I don’t think so!! And my husband knows it – he knows if I caught him having an affair I would not leave. He knows he has nothing really to worry about. Sigh!
      And yes I’m still hoping I am wrong – I am just keeping my eyes open and still trying not to be obsessive.

    • Katrina

      My biggest fear is similar to Heartbroken’s – that this will happen again. How can I live the rest of my life worrying about this? I cannot possibly physically or mentally survive this again. My husband and I have always wanted to have a child, but how can we do that now? As painful as this has been for the two of us, I can’t possibly imagine how much more complicated it would be if a child was involved. There is a part of me that feels that as difficult as it is to think about abandoning the relationship now, it will only be more exquisitely painful years from now if/when it happens again.

      Another fear I will never stop beating myself up for not being the “other woman” that my husband was emotionally involved with – I wake up every morning agonizing over what to wear (what would she wear?) how to do my hair (how would she style it?), I haven’t eaten or slept much, and I just can’t stand the sight of myself. And I keep re-reading their chat conversations I found, like I am trying to rub my face in the pain over and over again. She’s a photographer and takes seemingly daily pictures of herself, and so daily, I visit her flickr page daily to remind myself that I’m not as pretty or talented as her. I’m incredibly afraid that this will never end. I keep trying to stop. But I can’t.

      • admin

        I am sorry to say that you are just like me. I have felt and done exactly what you are doing. I felt like I tortured myself the same way, looking at her picture on the internet, visited facebook etc. Thinking about how she would react in a certain situation, what she has that I don’t, etc. I still occasionally look over the phone logs agonzing over how much time they spent on the phone. I have thought long and hard why am I doing this.

        Am I trying to sabatoge my marriage? To be honest I believe my low esteem had a lot to do with how I was feeling. This experience made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I thought by knowing everything I could about her would help me maybe feel better about myself. I was hoping to find some flaw, but instead I focused on what she had that I didn’t. It was not very productive, it also didn’t help that I have never met her.
        I finally came to a point when I realized that I have so much more than she does. For one I have my husband. She may have thought that he was hers, but I know in my heart that this is really where he wants to be. I also have my integrity, knowing that I would never do what she did to someone’s wife. I also know that I am better educated, have touched many lives through my job and know that I am a loving and caring person. I also wrote a very long letter to her (never sent), basically telling her how I felt. It was very liberating. I suggest you do the same.

        As far as your fear of worrying that it will happen again, that fear will always be there. However with time, and the commitment and patience of your husband it won’t be something that consumes your life. With time, you won’t feel that anxiety when he is on his cell phone or when he leaves to run an errand. With time you will begin to ease up and begin to trust again. You will begin to feel somewhat at peace with yourself and your relationship. Don’t feel that you should beat yourself up for the way you are feeling. Just begin putting all that effort that you have spent on her on you and your relationship instead. I know it is hard, and it becomes like an addiction, but pull yourself away and do things that make you feel better. You husband is with you, obviously this is where he wants to be, so embrace that and move on with your life. I know how hard it is and honestly there are still some days when I feel exactly as you do. However, with time I have noticed that they happen less frequently and now those days usually occur during “that time of the month.”

    • Dorothy

      My biggest fear is that I will have to finalize a divorce. He is backing me into a corner. He came to 1 therapy session and will not go back. He is out of the house basically living in his car. Says the OW is not good for him but will not take action to fix anything. It is all too sad and painful

      • admin

        From what I hear, a divorce can be every bit as traumatic as the affair itself. Not to mention the financial aspects can also be tough to deal with. I wouldn’t push therapy on him. That could cause further resentment. So has he ended his affair with the OW? If he has, and if you want to save your marriage, you’ll need to act swiftly to bring him back to you.

    • Carla

      I guess it’s kind of wierd for a ‘worried mum’ to be on here but I just keep looking for some information/words of wisdom (!) for my son. He came to see me today and looked so tired and stressed. (To update people – he’s married only 18 months and my daughter in law has been pursuing/in a relationship with an ex boyfriend, probably for several months. Son doesnt know if it continues as she spends time away from home with her job). Basically he is feeling stronger but realises the relationship is in trouble ,however, he is having to work long days to fulfil a an I.T. contract. (I.T. contracts in the UK are scarce at the moment and it’s not a 9 to 5 job.) It seems she is very withdrawn at times but then sometimes she seems in an arguementative mood and whatever he talks to her about she tries to put him down. He says she has become a bit ‘arrogant’ and tries to talk down to him. He tells me he feels angry inside when she does this because he helped her so much with her career, supported her while she took exams and coached her for interviews etc. He was proud of her achievements and wanted her to do well. Now she’s acting like she’s superior to him even though he has a very responsible and well paid job. He says he feels too tired to launch into an arguement with her when she behaves in this manner and he’s so sad because they used to laugh and joke and chat all the time when they were both home from work. I often wonder if she is still thinking (if not actually SEEING) the OM or if she feels guilty about she has/is doing. Who knows? I have not seen my daughter in law for several weeks.
      She makes excuses not to see us but I think she cant face us as she’s not sure how much the family know. Last week son asked her if she wanted to leave and she said ‘Why would I want to do that.?’ Son said ‘But you’re obviously unhappy.’ and she just shrugged her shoulders and went quiet. I saw her birthday card to my son recently. She had written ‘To my darling, gorgeous husband and said how much more she loved him every day – they were her written words, not the printed ones on the card. It doesnt add up to me. This is so awful for my son (and for us as his parents). We had such high hopes for their relationship. They seemd so compatible and were both from close, loving families. It makes you wonder why it all went wrong so QUICKLY . I mentioned on this site that my son found his wifes las year diary in which she had written how she had never stopped thinking about her ex (which was odd because she was only with him for a month, 7 years ago) – sorry if I’m repeating myself here!) and wished they hadnt broken up. She wrote that she wanted to marry him although she didnt think it was likely to happen. My son said he wished he’d confronted her at the time but then he wanted to save his marriage and was treading lightly. But things seemed to have changed and she is trying to goad him into an arguements. I dont know whether she is trying to establish some sort of ‘power’ in the relationship. Why would she wanted to put him down all the time? Of course, no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors but I see my son struggling with this problem so soon after his marriage and it breaks my heart. They lived together for four years before they got married and yet I, myself have noticed a change in her almost since they returned from honeymoon. I think women are often more adept than men at spotting subtle changes in someone’s personality – probably the ‘intuition’ thing….
      I dont offer my son advice, well, maybe a bit. I tell him to be strong and not to dwell on his problems while he’s working, eat well, take care of yourself etc etc.
      But then I lay awake at night and worry….what if daughter in law got pregnant by OM? Will she leave him suddenly without warning? It all goes round in my head.
      My son says he has always been too available to his wife, always considering her needs, supporting her, listening to her etc. I believe him as I know he is a genuine ‘good guy’ and they seem to be the ones who get hurt. You know its good to vent! I want to go to my daughter in law and say ‘What are you doing, why dont you just pack up and go some place where you can be happy, instead of making my son miserable!’ Thats what I’d LIKE to say but of course it isnt ever going to happen. I’d like to know others points of view on what could be causing daughter in law to have these withdrawn moods, the arguementative and picky side of her coming out which she never showed before – and yet the ‘loving’ birthday card….what does this mean. My son says he has repeatedly asked her to tell him how she feels and now he’s given up asking. Thanks for ‘listening.’
      I think this is a really good site. People are so supportive to each other and it is all very Adult.

    • Dorothy

      I donot believe he has ended it with the OW. He told me he has not spoken to her since Tuesday. Have heard those words before. I told him he can come home if he is done with her, seeks treatment for himself( have I mentioned that he has a drinking problem?) this has escalated ,the drinking,since the OW. Have not gotten a confirmation on either point, says he has lost his way, but not ready to do what it takes to find his way back. The advice I am receiving is not to enable him anymore. He tells me OW has a drug issue. so they seem to have an addiction to each other.He said she is not good for him. If he wants to get sober can’t have contact with her. Again don’t know where the lies end and the truth starts.If there is any truth at all.

    • Confused

      It is helpful to read everyone’s comments. Not everyone agrees that emotional affairs can be as destructive as I have found they can be. My husband and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a cruise. I found emails between him and another woman where he told her he wished that he could have brought her instead. It’s especially infuriating as I am the primary earner in our household and I paid for the cruise. This is not the first time he has been involved in an emotional affair, we went through this about 5 years ago. I am afraid that this one has gone much further. The woman lives in another state, but he made plans to visit her next weekend when he goes there. I believe him that there wasn’t anything physical, but it hurts so much I don’t know how to deal with it.

    • michael

      That just reinforced the reasons that I worry about my wife doing it again. I’ve seen it on here. My friend cheated on his wife, got caught and did it again. Even worse the second time. He told me it gets easier each time. And he got better at not getting caught. So when my wife tells me that it hurts her to know that I don’t trust her, I look for any reasons she has shown me to think otherwise. And there’s not enough. There are so many locked doors in her, that most of the time I feel outside by myself.

    • Dorothy

      Michael,In my case, yes he has done this before. The therapist said it is easier for him to live in the netherworld between two relationships, never fully committing to either.He is afraid of intimacy and never fully engages in it.This is why it is so much more painful this time. He had promised never to hurt me like that again.My trust was abused.He always acted so hurt when I didn’t trust.He told me telling lies has become easier for him.

      Again tonight I am hearing words that he wants to find his way back, but must deal with his drinking first. He said he is not ready to end drinking either. Asked if I have false hope for us,his reply was he hopes not. He wants our marriage to work. said we can make it better than it ever was.But is this just more lies? I like you Michael do not see or feel enough from him. His actions do not support his attempts at trying to say what I want to hear.

    • Giving Up

      My biggest fears have been realized. My husband moved out and in with the OW about a month ago. He still comes over everyday to see the kids and maintain our “Best Friend” status. I want him back very badly so I go along with this and try to be the best friend possible. I try to show him that I am the better choice, as I had read, basically becoming the potential OW.

      He still says he loves me. He says he wants me to move on but me not loving him scares him to death because he will never feel that way.

      He has all kinds of problems with the OW. Spent the last two weekends straight arguing. Most weekends they argue. He says he has made it clear that we are going to be friends but she just can’t accept it (which in all honesty I wouldn’t if I were her either) but he holds steadfast to it and wont budge which I believe causes problems. He has almost moved out three times, but always goes back.

      My biggest fear at this point is that I am making the biggest mistakes. Part of me wants to tell him to go and leave me alone, but he REALLY IS my best friend and I feel so alone right now that I don’t think I have the strength. And the fact is, if this really is it and I have lost him forever then I really DO want to maintain our friendship. Even if it means not getting back together.

      I am so lost I don’t know what to do. I am used to being alone now, that part doesn’t bother me, its the loss of the love and not knowing what direction to go in for myself. Do I sit and be patient? Do I try to move on? And if I try to move on, HOW???

      my entire adult life has been dedicated to this man. I am totally and utterly lost without him, but I don’t tell him that. I can’t. This has been going on for nearly six months and sometimes I feel like it just happened.

      The funny thing is, I read what you are all saying, and I know that if he came back I would forgive. I know why he got to the place he did and while I would worry, I would just do everything I needed to to keep him happy and try not to obssess. Right…not obssess!

    • Dorothy

      Giving Up, I am in the same place you are emotionally.I too am lonely for my best friend. Don’t know how it all went so bad. I keep thinking if I am better at …what ever…he will see what a mistake he has made.For me it hit the fan on 1-26. But it was on the brink for a long time. OW had been in and out of the picture for many years. I kept trying to forgive and he said he was being faithful..but never really was. So my question to myself is..after all these years of living in a one sided marriage why do I still want him?

    • Giving Up

      Same question I ask myself. But my marraige has not been like this for years. Just since last summer. We are very close still, talk all the time, he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek and sometimes a peck on the lips when we say goodbye, I still see him everyday. I think sometimes that it makes it harder to distance myself, but at the same time I am not ready to give it up.

      He says he wants me to date and see if I still feel the same way for him, so I have gone out a few times…and funny thing…I still do…It kind of sucks.

    • Last2know

      I am scared of how he feels when he see’s her at work. Does he feel anything at all?
      I am scared that if we have a bad day or something bad happens will he seek comfort with her again
      I am afraid that I am not able to trust him yet
      I am scared that not being able to reproduce the “feel good” drug that kept him in “the Fog” will affect our marriage

      • admin

        Last2know, those are all tough feelings to overcome. It’s tough to not walk on egg shells after something like this, but life must go on. I think this is where effective communication and boundaries will come in handy between the two of you.

    • Brenda

      Hi all, I have been travelling the road of my H depression as well as his EA for what feels like an eternity. I still suffer all the same emotions as the rest of the universe however they are nowhere near as bad as they were in the beginning, don’t get me wrong I still feel Crap most of the time, just not all day everyday. . My question is to Doug or anyone else out there who can shed some light on this for me, As you know we the betrayed waste alot of time and energy chasing after evidence, being consumed by visions of the OW/OM and have thoughts that we are not good enough etc.. During your EA did you ever wonder what your wife/husband was up to throughout the day whilst you were involved with the OW/OM??

      • admin

        Hello Brenda, and thanks for commenting. Are you asking if I wondered what Linda was doing as far as her possibly having an affair, or her snooping activities, or just in general?

      • admin

        Brenda, as the betrayed spouse I feel the need to respond to this question. You asked if Doug wondered what I doing during the day, I can honestly say that during Doug’s affair the last person he was thinking about was me. During the day his main focus was talking and meeting Tanya. He really didn’t care that I was in my school closet having a panic attack, or ready to pass out because I haven’t eaten in days. All his thoughts were consumed with Tanya. It is amazing that a person who was so caring could turn into someone who displayed little compassion for your pain and suffering. This behavior truly shows how a person involved in an affair is being completely selfish and under the influence of a powerful drug.

    • Last2know

      Brenda, when they are in an EA they could care less what we (the betrayed) are doing all day. Their thoughts and time are consumed by their “object of affection”. They may accuse you of being unfaithful but that’s a sign that they are the ones being unfaithful, it’s a part of the guilt. During this time they are very selfish so they are only thinking about talking to or seeing that person. The only thoughts my H was having about me were how I didn’t compare to his “perfect friend”. Sad to think about but true. Why is your H depressed? If he doesn’t ordinarily suffer from depression why now?

    • Last2know

      Linda, today is a trigger day for me. Not as bad as before but still scary.

      • admin

        Last2know, must be going around, bad day for me too. It sucks!

    • Broken

      Linda, I also felt the same way, I had panic attacks and didn’t eat for weeks after I found out about the EA. I would call my H when I was losing my mind, and he was sympathetic sometimes and other times he would just shut me out. I’m not sure why he did this, but when I was going crazy he would go crazy too. He would be mad at me for being upset. Sometimes he would storm out of the house and leave me crying. And I would think to myself… what did I do? This isn’t my fault! I can’t help but cry. I don’t think my husband cared about me during the EA. His mind was preoccupied with the OW. It’s very sad to think that your spouse can put someone ahead of you. There’s nothing I change about the EA and what happened during it, but it hurts so bad to think that he was living this other secret life, all the while I was living my life like normal.

    • Mary

      My biggest fear was rejection. My husband’s online emotional affair resulted in him travelling across the world to meet the OW who by the way is married to his old schoolfriend. The discovery of this EA – after I read their online chat threw me into total despair. This web site gave me support at that time and I really thought we could not survive this OW impact on our marriage. Rejection is the only word I can think of which summed up what I felt. Rejection of my own values, does that make sense ? because I wanted to meet this woman to make her see I was an intelligent, attractive and accomplished woman and not the pushover she thought I was. However, the backlash of this was the OW felt absolutely no remorse and felt it was ok to show affection to my husband in front of me. They would go off in corners to chat while I watched from affar feeling helpless and rejected. So eight years down the track – sorry for all those thinking this stuff takes months ! – yes I am still hanging in there. My husband is gradually coming out of the fog but we still have huge fights when all the emotion and doubt pours into my head and unfortunately comes out of my mouth. One thing I have done which I havent seen here on this site, was to openly confront this OW. I told her in front of her husband and my own that it was she who had an affair with my husband. She said her own husband didnt talk to her and she found mine was there when she needed someone. This is a woman who seems to think every man is after her that she has some kind of magical allure (yes she has openly said this). I would never have confronted this woman before but somehow over time I have gained a strength I never new. I was and still am desperate to save my marriage as both of us have put so much into it working hard and raising four children. With this confidence, I realise that each time I feel rejected, rather than falling into a heap and never getting up, I get up, brush myself off and smile sweetly at my husband. It is about working on yourself, presenting a happy face when you are still crying inside. At the same time, when the time is right, talk about the hurt I felt because I love him so much. And I also believe my husband fears rejection too. Rejection by me because of what he has done. Thank you so much for this site, there is a lot of sadness here but also I know out there all around the globe are kind caring people going through the same thing. We havent done anything to deserve any of this, but the upside is going through this and out the other side can only make is more resilient and strong.

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